A promise is a personal commitment to do something. Other words similar to "promise" are pledge, oath, and vow. A promise should be taken very seriously by everyone involved.


  • Oliver promised to help his brother move to a new apartment this weekend.
  • He promises he will be there this weekend.
  • He promised he would be there this weekend.
  • He promises to be there this weekend with his truck.
  • Sarah promised her boss that she would come to work early on Saturday.
  • She promised she would be there early.
  • She intends on keeping her promise.
  • She doesn’t want to break her promise.

The verbs "keep" and "break" are commonly used with the word "promise." To keep a promise is to honor it. To break a promise is to decide on an action that makes the promise worthless. Notice the use of the possessive adjective before the word "promise" in each of these examples:

  • I swear I will keep my promise.
  • Tim always keeps his promise.
  • Will you keep your promise?
  • Gina has broken her promise.
  • It’s hard to trust Todd because he always breaks his promise.
  • Why did you break your promise?
  • Don’t break your promise!

When you promise another person something, there are certain ways to do it:

  • I made a promise to my wife that I would fix the sink. (make a promise)
  • I promised her that I would take care of it.
  • She’s going to hold me to my promise. (hold one to a promise = make sure the promise is acted upon)
  • I promised not to let her down.
  • She has my promise.

There are many other ways in which you will hear the word "promise" in every day English:

  • He’s full of empty promises. (He breaks his promises.)
  • He went back on his promise. (He broke his promise.)
  • During the wedding ceremony, the couple promised to love, honor, and obey each other. (They will try to keep their promise to each other.) wedding
  • He promises the stars and the moon. (He makes promises, but doesn’t always keep them.)
  • She failed to live up to her promise. (She broke her promise.)
  • A promise is a promise. (You must keep your promise.)
  • Promises, promises! (This is an expression that means that a promise is not worth very much.)

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January 24, 2020